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Rookie Reporters Sacrifice Everything by Manny
As I was watching "All the President's Men" and the fantastic hair sported by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, my mind began to wonder......Manny!
"Can you believe they won’t print our article on page 1?!" Carl fumed. "This is a huge story! We could be changing the whole history of our country!"
"All because we’re just a couple of rookie journalists. A couple of longhairs fresh from graduate school!" Bob added flicking his thick blond forelock back from his deep blue eyes.
"We deserve some respect," Carl ranted on. "We worked hard on this and it’s all documented!"
His thick, shoulder-length brown hair swished about his shoulders as he gesticulated. It was parted in the center and feathered at the sides, covering his ears and falling into beautiful layers as it streamed past the base of his collar.
Bob’s hair was not nearly as long as Carl’s, but still nothing like the old geezer managers above them in the newspaper’s hierarchy with their very barbered-looking taper cuts.
It was 1972 and the new generation of men looked so different from their elders. Their tight pants and bell-bottoms contrasted dramatically with the peg-leg flood-water polyester dress pants the managers wore. The bold print shirts with puffy sleeves and long droopy collars so different from the white dress shirts with button-down collars of the older set.
Bob took a long look at Carl. In a way, he felt sorry for what he was about to say. Sorry...and excited! Then he spit out his plan. "You may not like what I’m going to say, pal. But this is our only chance. Tomorrow when you make a last pitch to the editor to get the story of this political scandal on the front page, you need look like someone they can relate to, some they can trust....."
"I don’t follow you, Bob," his colleague murmuered with a puzzled look on his face.
Bob move close to him and towered over his friend, gazing down at Carl’s beautiful long hair. "For starters, this has to go, Carl," he said as he began stroking the dense mane of glistening brown hair.
Carl withered at the thought. He knew exactly where Bob was heading. There was no feigning confusion. He looked up into Bob’s handsome face. "Oh, Bob, I couldn’t...."
While Carl was slightly senior to Bob in the company’s pecking order, he was definitely subservient in terms of their relationship. Bob was tall and handsome and commanding. Carl almost always submitted to the will and desires of his subordinate. He harbor a secret crush on Bob. The thought of having his long hair chopped off petrified Carl. The beautiful flowing mane was his crown jewel!
Bob was not swayed by Carl's appeal. "And I don’t mean just the hair. When you walk into the conference room tomorrow morning. You are going to look just like one of them! Oh, Carl. It’ll be so much fun giving you a makeover. From up-start 'cool cat' to serious journalist in their eyes!"
Bob’s eyes twinkled and he did not try to contain his glee at forcing a geeky make-over on his pal. The thought of making Carl sit submissively in a big barber’s chair and watching his long hair get stripped away made Bob feel almost giddy. Any pity he had initially felt for his pal quickly evaporated. Perhaps his pal even secretly longed for someone to take away his 1972 longhair look.
"You won’t have it cut too short, will you, Bob?" Carl asked, almost in a pleading tone.
Bob continued surveying the hair he knew Carl was so proud and possessive of...
"Oh, there’s so much of it. Really, Carl! When was the last time you had a clippers taken to these pretty locks? Have you ever been made to sit in a traditional barber shop?" Bob asked.
"Yes, for sure. I think when I was 16 years old — to go to my grandmother’s funeral. My father made sure I didn’t look like a ‘hippy’. His brothers were all very conservative and their sons still sported crewcuts. It was a nightmare!"
"Come on! It’s going on 4:30. We need to get you to the barber shop before it closes!" Bob exclaimed. He hustled Carl out to the parking lot. "After the haircut, we’re heading to the mall to get you a nice, conservative outfit for tomorrow’s meeting. Oh, Carl, the sacrifice you’ll be making for us is priceless. When I see you look like a dorky geek, you will be a real pal and hero. Such a sacrifice on your part for both of us. That aggressive taper up the back of your head will turn heads, for sure. I might not be able to keep my hands off the sharp bristles! I do hope we can find a pair of clunky black wingtip shoes — with white socks on peg leg pants, just like Mr. Jackson wears."
"You want me looking like Jackson...." Carl whimpered. Bob’s plan was even more demeaning than he imagined.
As the two drove to the barber shop, Carl surveyed Bob’s beautiful blond hair. It was streaked with natural highlights and emitted an intense sheen. He had always admired Bob’s hair although he felt his colleague should grow it longer in back. It was fairly conservative at mid collar. But the forelock was long and thick and constantly falling down in Bob’s crystal blue eyes. The way Bob flicked his forelock about was so sexy....
Carl cleared his throat nervously, "Uh, you know, Bob. Um, it would be a lot easier for me, if...." he gulped and looked nervously at Bob’s nice hair. "I mean, perhaps we should both cut our hair short."
Bob glared at Carl and let out a laugh. "Why?! The meeting tomorrow with the Editor in Chief is just you. Not me. Remember how you pulled rank on me and said the agreement was just you making a pitch -- solo. All important Mr. Carl Bernstein going alone into Mr. Jackson’s office. You blew me off when you set this up. And, now. My plan to make it work involves just YOU sitting quietly in the barber’s chair watching this beautiful long mane falling to the cape!" He reached over and tussled Carl's hair. THen Bob flicked his forelock back and then ran his fingers through his mane, savoring the feel of long hair.
Carl gulped nervously. It was payback time and he was going to have a very high price to pay for pulling rank on Bob! Bob was going to ensure he got scalped.
"There’s the shop!" Bob announced. "And remember! You be very submissive when I take you in there. No complaining or dragging of your feet. No squirming under the cape! Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir," Carl said instinctively.
"What?! I didn’t hear you!" Bob barked like a drill sergeant.
"Yes, SIR!" Carl said in a clear, loud voice.
Bob turned off the engine. Then he tussled his friend’s hair tenderly once again. "Oh, Carl, you are such a friend to make this sacrifice for our professional success." He leaned over and, to Carl’s surprise, gave him a quick hug. Carl took a deep breath and was enveloped by the sweet smell of Bob’s strong cologne. He dreamed about Bob’s lips pressing against his. Amidst the fantasy, all Carl's fear of the barber’s clippers was forgotten.
"Anything for you Bob...." he murmured shyly and gave a loving look to his friend.
Then it was to business at hand -- Carl's makeover. Bob marched Carl straight into the traditional barbershop.
"We don’t do girly styles in here. Just haircuts for real men!" one of the old barbers barked.
"Real men’s haircuts is why we're here. Carl here needs his hair cut to your length, sir," Bob said, pointing to his pal's long, lush brown locks.
Carl stopped dead in his tracks. The old geezer barber’s hair was cut to a military length. Buzzed up the sides and back and the top barely long enough to pinch between in his fingers.
"Go on, Carl! Take a seat. We have yet to check out the suits at Sears for you!" Bob instructed.
Carl dutifully shuffled over to the big barber chair and climbed up onto the metal foot step. He looked terribly uncomfortable in the big, oversized chair. The line of clippers hanging from the bottom of the counter seemed absolutely menacing.
Bob looked at himself in the mirror and took a deep breath. Then he summonsed up his courage for a surprise announcement. Bob said to the other barber, "And, I, well, I’m here for a flattop!"
Carl let out a squeal. He could not believe what Bob had just said. "Oh, Bob, you don’t have to...." he protested.
The other barber whisked a few strays hair from the seat and pointed to it. "I’m the flattop expert. You won’t be sorry."
Bob flashed a nervous grin. A longstanding fantasy would become reality. His forelock falling to the cape as his moptop was carved down to a genuine 1950s flattop.
As he approached his chair, he looked again at himself in the mirror. Was he crazy? His sexy forelock..... He flicked it back nervously. Girls swooned over his nice hair.
Then he turned back to look at Carl. The barber was having an awful time fishing the long hair out from under the cape and getting the big metal clip into place.
"Actually, a flattop will take too long and we’re in a hurry. I’ll take a rain check on that. For this evening, it’ll be just Carl here getting a nice tight crewcut!" Bob laughed nervously.
"What’ll it be up the back — a #2 or a #1?" the barber asked Bob about the length Carl should get. "While you decided, let me get rid of this length!" he stated, taking a pair of barber shears from his chest pocket.
Bob watched the barber chop off the hair at the nape — a basic triage so that the clipper would have easy access. Huge clumps fell at the base of the chair. Carl looked absolutely miserable.
"Give him a #1! And little boy bangs in front!" Bob announced.
Bob looked wistfully at the set of clippers. He was so close! "Actually, my bangs could use a bit of a trim, too," Bob said, moving back toward the vacant chair.
He quickly took a seat.
The barber caped Bob. He combed the long forelock straight down. It totally covered Bob’s beautiful blue eyes.
"Men shouldn’t have hair this length," the barber said in disapproving tone. He aimed high with the shears. Snip, snip, snip! Off the bangs came near the top of his forehead. Within instants, the forelock was on the cape. "You know, a flattop won’t take so long......" the barber said.
Bob gripped the arms of the barber chair under the cape. He had always wanted one. "Then go for it. Zero on he sides and back. Landing strip and all! Can do you that?" Bob asked, the words tumbling out of his mouth.
Then he heard the clippers spring to life where Carl was sitting. "Keep your head down!" Carl's barber barked. Poor Carl, his makeover was starting in earnest.
Bob watched his own barber reach for the clippers. "When I saw you two heading towards the shop, I never thought this is what you had in mind. Two pretty boys with long hair — maybe they were lost and needing directions or needing a cigarette light," the barber said.
"What they needed was decent haircuts like they’re getting," the other barber snapped. "I’ll tell you, this place will look like a boot camp barbershop by the time we’ve finished with them!" Both geezers laughed.
The barber brought a huge set of Oster clippers to Bob’s thick, oversized sideburn. He cocked Bob's head to the side. The chattering teeth ran right up through the patch of blondish-red hair and then hit the dense honey-streaked blond mane. Bob was totally enthralled watching his moptop give way to the clippers. Masses of his shining blond hair came off.
The barber was quick with the clippers. He skinned the left side almost to the scalp and then moved to the right. Oh, how the air conditioning on the exposed scalp made Bob shiver.
Then the barber pushed Bob’s head forward so that he was left staring at the white cape. The clippers at his nape felt divine! Unlike Carl, Bob had never liked long hair on men. He’d felt pressured to grow it out in college.
"Really short, for both of us!" Bob reminded the barbers as they both continued wielding the clippers. "How’s my friend Carl looking?"
"They’ll be snapping crisp salutes when I enter the room!" Carl exclaimed. "Oh, Bob, I never imagined my hair would ever be cut so short. I look like a soldier, and my nose it looks so over-sized...". Carl’s voice trailed.
Having Carl get shorn at the same time, for a bit of moral support in finally getting cut flat, was a stroke of genius.
The climax of Bob’s haircut was the clippers grazing the top of his scalp as the barber carved out a generous landing strip. "One of those new 747s could land on this one!" the geezer quipped.
Bob smiled broadly. He loved his new haircut. No more big mutton chop burns bugging him. No more forelock falling into his eyes. Virtually, no more hair!
The barber uncaped him and he emerged from the barber’s chair a new, happier man.
Carl, on the other hand, was absolutely miserable. "My nose looks enormous and I miss my long hair," He sniveled.
When they got out of the shop, Bob whispered in his ear. "I will make it up to you, Carl. Promise. You look so manly with that short crewcut. And that exposed big nose gives you character.c
We’re keeping these haircuts, by the way. Is that understood? Now let’s get some new clothes — something more appropriate of grad school rookies angling for middle management positions at the newspaper."
"Sure, Bob. If you like my hair this short, that's how I want it cut. Those old barbers were nice guys...." Carl felt the back of his head -- the bristles as he examined Bob's new flattop. How he longed to be able to stroke it and caress Bob's new landing strip.